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Connected by CommitmentOppression and Our Responsibility to Undermine It$
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Mara Marin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190498627

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190498627.001.0001

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Labor Relations and the Politics of Commitment

Labor Relations and the Politics of Commitment

(p.123) Chapter 5 Labor Relations and the Politics of Commitment
Connected by Commitment

Mara Marin

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 argues that work makes us vulnerable to those whose labor is presupposed by ours. The hierarchical division between high- and low-skilled labor, justified by ideas of personal achievement and rights as boundaries, denies this vulnerability by making invisible both the full value of “low-skilled” work and the value of labor that, because it requires the combination of qualitatively different skills, can only be created cooperatively. The division between high- and low-skilled labor enables the accumulation of capital by obscuring this value and the interest of the vast majority of workers in having this value recognized rather than transferred to capital. The notion of commitment is critical in undermining these ideas, showing how a common interest can arise out of different positions in the structure of work, and making visible workers’ shared interest in limiting returns on capital and increasing returns on labor.

Keywords:   gender, race, high-skilled labor, low-skilled labor, achievement, merit, capital accumulation, social reproduction, solidarity, labor degradation

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